Into the Woods (eBook): How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them
by John Yorke
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Into The Woods is a revelation of the fundamental structure and meaning of all stories, from the man responsible for more hours of drama on British television than anyone else, John Yorke.
We all love stories. Many of us love to tell them, and even dream of making a living from it too. But what is a story? Hundreds of books about screenwriting and storytelling have been written, but none of them ask 'Why?' Why do we tell stories? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way?
John Yorke has been telling stories almost his entire adult life, and the more he has done it, the more he has asked himself why? Every great thinker or writer has their theories: Aristotle, David Hare, Lajos Egri, Robert McKee, Gustav Freytag, David Mamet, Christopher Booker, Charlie Kaufman, William Goldman and Aaron Sorkin - all have offered insightful and illuminating answers. Here, John Yorke draws on these figures and more as he takes us on a historical, philosophical, scientific and psychological journey to the heart of all storytelling.
What he reveals is that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative - one that echoes the great fairytale journey into the woods, and one, like any great art, that comes from deep within. Much more than a 'how to write' book, Into the Woods is an exploration of this fundamental structure underneath all narrative forms, from film and television to theatre and novel-writing. With astonishing detail and wisdom, John Yorke explains to us a phenomenon that, whether it is as a simple fable, or a big-budget 3D blockbuster, most of us experience almost every day of our lives.
'Brimmingly insightful ... fresh, enlightening and accessible ... a gripping read from beginning to end' Robert Collins, Sunday Times
'Terrifyingly clever ... Packed with intelligent argument' Evening Standard
'So detailed and engaging is his methodology that any consumer of books, plays, TV or films will find the experience enhanced; and scriptwriters themselves will find useful guidance - because when you know the why, the how is natural' Robert Epstein, Independent on Sunday
'This is a marvellous analysis of screenwriting and, with any luck, should help a great many people achieve their dreams' Julian Fellowes, writer/creator of Downton Abbey
'Another book on screenwriting! Oh, how I wanted to hate it! I didn't. I loved it. Much of it was fresh to me. And always interesting, always intelligent and, for a writer, always rewarding' Jimmy McGovern, screenwriter, The Street and The Accused
'In an industry full of so called script gurus and snake oil salesmen, at last there's a book about story that treats writers like grown ups. This isn't about providing us with an ABC of story or telling us how to write a script by numbers. It's an intelligent evaluation into the very nature of storytelling and is the best book on the subject I've read. Quite brilliant' Tony Jordan, screenwriter, Life on Mars and Hustle
'Even for a convinced sceptic, John Yorke's book, with its massive field of reference from Aristotle to Glee, and from Shakespeare to Spooks, is a highly persuasive and hugely enjoyable read. It would be hard to beat for information and wisdom about how and why stories are told' Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director, The Globe Theatre
'This book is intelligent, well written, incisive and, most of all, exciting. It is the most important book about scriptwriting since William Goldman's...